Quick Look: Dragonwood
Designer: Darren Kisgen
Artists: Chris Beatrice
Year Published: 2015
No. of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 20 minutes.
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
From the Publisher:
Dragonwood is a fantasy themed, family geared card and dice game.
The box states that it’s for ages 8 and up, however, I began teaching my son how to play it when he was only 3.5 years old.
The basis of play is to collect adventure cards by “reloading” up to 9 cards in a hand, then playing cards to gain between 1-6 dice in order to capture one of the 5 face-up creatures from the Dragonwood deck; with the goal being to have the most victory points at the end of the game.
Each creature has various victory points that they’re worth, and In order to capture the creature the player must either “strike,” “stomp,” or “scream” at the one they want. This game helped in teaching my son how to sequence numbers (in order to “strike” a creature), matching numbers (to “stomp” on the creature), sort by colors (to “scream” at a creature) and simple addition in the dice and victory points at the end of the game.
My son enjoys the artistry, each card is very well illustrated with the artwork being child friendly. There’s much laughter in calling out the plays for example, “I’m going to stomp on the secret shadow” or “scream at the gooey glob” and even though this game is won mainly by the luck of the dice, it is one of our favorite games to play together.
I like the fact that it is a simple set up and is easy to learn for all ages. It’s quite enjoyable to play just him and I, when we add more players however, it can be frustrating being stuck with all the low card values on a players turn and not getting the opportunity to even try for a higher ranked card before it’s captured, being stuck at times with all 5 creatures revealed with a value of 2 or less every round.
There are a total of 42 Dragonwood cards in the deck, the two dragons having the highest victory points at 6 & 7, only 2 cards have victory points of 5, and 3 cards worth 4 points each, the rest being worth 1,2, or 3 points each.
The enhancements are helpful in obtaining the creature cards more easily by adding extra dice, re-rolling a die or extra points towards capture attempts. In order to get these enhancements the player is required to use their adventure cards to “strike, stomp or scream” at them in the same way as creature cards.
There is some strategy involved in whether or not to save adventure cards for the higher victory point creatures or to spend them on enhancements with the hope it will help in the long run capturing the creatures.
Overall, it is a fun, quick game that can also be educational for younger players.